"In the stilnees of the quiet, if we listen, we can hear the whisper of the heart giving strengh to the weakness, courage to the fear, hope to despair"
- Howard Thurman -
Sound Of The Genuine
There is in every person something that waits and listens for the sound of the genuine ... There is in you something that waits and listens for the sound of the genuine in yourself. Nobody like you has ever been born and no one like you will ever be born again -- you are the only one.
If you cannot hear it, you will never find whatever it is for which you are searching and if you hear it and then do not follow it, it was better that you had never been born. You are the only you that has ever lived; your idiom is the only idiom of its kind in all the existences, and if you cannot hear the sound of the genuine in you, you will all of your life spend your days on the ends of strings that somebody else pulls.
The sound of the genuine is flowing through you. Don’t be deceived and thrown off by all the noises that are part even of your dreams and your ambitions when you don’t hear the sound of the genuine in you. Because that is the only true guide you will ever have and if you don’t have that you don’t have a thing ... Cultivate the discipline of listening to the sound of the genuine in yourself.
There is something in everybody that waits and listens for the sound of the genuine in other people... I must wait and listen for the sound of the genuine in you. I must wait. For if I cannot hear it, then in my scheme of things, you are not ever present. So as I live my life then, this is what I am trying to fulfill...that I’m secure because I hear the sound of the genuine in myself, and having learned to listen to that, I can become quiet enough, still enough to hear the sound of the genuine in you.
Now if I hear the sound of the genuine in me and if you hear the sound of the genuine in you, it is possible for me to go down in [my spirit] and come up in [your spirit]. So that when I look at myself through your eyes having made that pilgrimage, I see in me what you see in me. [Then] the wall that separates and divides will disappear, and we will become one -- because the sound of the genuine makes the same music.
Howard Thurman was a social pioneer, compassionate mystic and mentor to Martin Luther King Jr. (who introduced him to Gandhi). Excerpt above from Baccalaureate address at Spelman College in 1980.
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